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Local Politics and the Dynamics of Property in Africa - Christian Lund

Local Politics and the Dynamics of Property in Africa


Published: 29th March 2010
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"Through an exceptionally rich collection of micro-histories of conflict over land and local politics in northeastern Ghana, Local Politics and the Dynamics of Property in Africa offers fresh insights into the complex interplay between struggles over land legal pluralism, and the constitution of public authority in postcolonial Africa. Combining lively narratives with thoughtful commentary on analytical and policy debates in several disciplines, Lund's study speaks effectively to a wide audience of scholars, students and practitioners."-Sara Berry, Johns Hopkins University

"Lund's subtle and closely observed studies of small property disputes add up to a big study of politics and the state. A strikingly original contribution to our knowledge of state formation and political conflict in the context of legal pluralism. Alive with illuminating detail and analytical insight."-James C. Scott, Yale University

"Anyone seriously interested in the local struggles produced by land shortage in Africa should read this book. It is a dynamic study of recent politicals affairs in the Upper East Region of Ghana and the framing ideas that have shaped both the political discussions on the ground and Lund's analyses of them."-Sally Falk Moore, Harvard University"

This is a major contribution to the anthropology of politics in Africa. It represents a new anthropology of public space and is indispensable to those interested in studying the state, land, and property in Africa. The book offers a subtle, innovative, and stimulating new reading of the primary contributions within legal anthropology and the anthropology of development. The analysis of local politics and land conflicts illuminates the social, institutional, and symbolic construction of propert and public authority, Lund's work is outstanding."-Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Marseille, and LASDEL, Niamey

Access to land and property is vital to people's livelihoods in rural, peri-urban, and urban areas in Africa. People exert tremendous energy and imagination to have land, claims recognized as rights with a variety of political, administrative and legal institutions. This book is dedicated to a detailed analysis of how public authority and the state are formed through debates and struggles over property in the Upper East Region of Ghana. While scarcity may indeed promote exclusivity, the evidence from this book shows that when there are many institutions competing for the right to authorize claims to land, the result of an effort to unify and clarify the law is to intensify competition among them and weaken their legitimacy. The book particularly explores how state divestiture of land in 1979 encouraged competition between customary authorities and how the institution of the earthpriest was revived. Such processes are key to understanding property and authority in Africa.

'... an important contribution to the growing literature about two interrelated dimensions of governance and development in Africa that are alluded to in the title ... this is a concise, well-written book that will be of interest for a multidisciplinary readership.' Journal of African History

List of Maps, Figures, and Tablesp. vi
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Abbreviationsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
"This Situation Is Incongruous in the Extreme": The History of Land Policies in the Upper Regions of Ghanap. 25
Who Owns Bolgatanga? The Revival of the Earthpriest and Emerging Tensions over Propertyp. 47
Seizing Opportunities: Chieftaincy, Land, and Local Administrationp. 68
Settled Facts or Facts to Settle: Land Conflicts under Institutional Uncertaintyp. 90
"Bawku Is Still Volatile": Ethnopolitical Conflict and State Recognitionp. 108
The Rent of Nonenforcement: Access co Forest Resourcesp. 134
Small Dams and Fluid Tenurep. 156
Conclusionp. 174
Referencesp. 183
Indexp. 197
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521148511
ISBN-10: 0521148510
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 29th March 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.4  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.35